AdventistHelp was founded in 2015 as a medical humanitarian initiative in response to the overwhelming refugee crisis in the Middle East at the time. Their first major project was to provide an emergency mobile medical unit for refugees crossing the dangerous channel from Turkey into Greece. This was a life-changing experience.
In a brief history provided on their Facebook “About” page, they share: “We treated thousands of patients in our bus clinic on the beachfront in Skala Sykamineas. This was one of our most challenging projects. From pulling drowning refugees out of capsized boats, to resuscitating near drowned children on restaurant tables, with thousands of men, women and children arriving on our beachfront daily—this assignment changed us all.”
Since that time, the organization has continued to seek out vulnerable areas and set up clinics to deliver high quality medical care in disaster-stricken areas and refugee settlements.
We talked with Michael-John von Hörsten, a medical doctor and one of the long-term AdventistHelp volunteers, to learn more about their latest effort.
ANN: Please, tell us about your newest project.
Michael-John von Hörsten:AdventistHelp and ADRA are partnering to construct a field hospital in the Kyaka II Refugee Settlement. It’s a rapidly enlarging population of over 100 thousand Congolese refugees fleeing the fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The refugee settlement stretches nearly 82 kilometers, covering three sub-counties in western Uganda.
We’re building an emergency and inpatient facility covering a big health gap in the region. This stand-alone facility will house an outpatient block providing primary care, dental services and physiotherapy. There will also be an emergency block with a lab, ultrasound unit and X-ray. This the first phase. As funding allows, the second phase will include wards and an operating room.
We hope to have Phase 1 open and functioning by next month.
ANN: Who are you specifically working with?
We’ll be providing health services to the refugees in the camp as well as the host community.
ANN: What drew you to this region?
We were invited by Charles Aguilar, the country director of ADRA Uganda, to partner with them to set up a health facility in the area.
ANN: How many volunteers do you have working with you?
We have a steady stream of international doctors and nurses working on our projects. We had over 150 on our last project in Iraq, and this will be no different. The international volunteers complement a core local medical team who will operate the facility.
ANN: How many people are you expecting to serve in this facility?
We believe it will be even busier than the Iraq clinic which saw over 50 thousand patients.
ANN: What is your biggest need right now?
We need your prayers. It’s quite a big work lying ahead! Also if you’re a medical professional and are keen to volunteer with us, please contact us at volunteers(at)adventisthelp.org. It’s life changing work! Lastly, there are many gaps we’re still trying to fund, ranging from walkways to lab items, to malaria medicines. If you’re interested in donating, please contact us at info(at)adventisthelp.org.
ANN: What motivates you to continue these projects?
We’re all volunteers out here. Our patients are what keep us here. Being able to help save lives and provide crucial services to vulnerable populations is such a privilege for all of us.
You may follow AdventistHelp on Facebook to learn more, and to see progress on the Uganda clinic project.